She-Wolf of London
Within the hustle and bustle of the city, and among the clamoring throng of people, news was happening. A paperboy, his hands blackened with ink, shouted out the daily headlines to the crowd. "Extra, extra, Hyde Ripper strikes again!" he yelled as he waved the papers around.
"Here" came a deep American voice from behind the boy. Tossing a few coins into the lad's cup, the man grabbed a paper off of the top and hurried on his way. "More rubbish" he thought as he scanned the article. Marching his way through the crowd, he neatly tucked the paper under his arm as he approached a modern looking office building with the names 'Lanfield & Lanfield: Barristers' etched over the main doorway.
"Barry, I told you not to bother coming in today!" an older and English sounding man chided as Barry tossed his paper on a cluttered desk and set his briefcase aside. "Sorry Uncle Lawrence, but I never could stand more than three days without doing something." Came the smooth reply.
Lawrence Lanfield smiled at his nephew's work ethic as he eyed the headlines. "Hmm, another murder. Ghastly business, isn't?" "Only ghastly when justice isn't served Uncle." Barry replied. "I know, I know, but still, you really should be spending more time with your girl than in this musty old place day in and day out."
"I suppose. Phyllis has been acting strange though." Barry hummed as he began to sort through case files. "Strange? How so?" Lawrence questioned. "Oh, it's more than likely she's just been reading too many of these lurid stories. She says she's been having trouble sleeping." Lawrence chuckled at the announcement and leaned back in his old chair. "Sounds to me more of a case of pre-wedding jitters; say, how you two set a date yet?"
"Not yet, her aunt keeps putting it off until Phyllis is 'ready'." He almost spat at the last word.
The conversation then switched to more mundane affairs, while in a large house, built something before the reign of Victoria…
The house was old, nearly a living thing almost. Its old stonewalls had seen two world wars and enough horror to last several more. The grounds around the old building were fairly unkempt, save for a small garden off the main road. An older woman, her hair still possessing a spark of youth while her face showed a life of hardship, quietly exited from a small cottage in the center of the garden and made her way down the beaten dirt road towards London.
"Hannah!" cried a woman's voice. The older woman stopped and turned around at the sound. "Oh, Miss Carol, what can I do for you?"
Carol, a strapping young woman with jet black hair and broad shoulders, hurried from behind a tree and thrust a folded piece of paper into the older woman's hands. "If you see Bobby on your trip to town" she began before a wrinkled old finger to the lips joshed her. "I understand Miss Carol. I was your age once too." She winked as she pocketed the paper and began on her way.
"I'll be taking that note Hannah, now." A cruel voice announced from inside the house. "Oh, Mrs. Winthrop, I'm sorry" Hannah babbled as an older woman (looking much like Carol, provided Carol lost almost half her body weight as well as her sense of humor) marched out from the house like a drill sergeant and stuck her hand out. "I saw Carol give you that love letter. Give it to me now, or you can start looking for another job."
Hannah sighed as she reached into the folds of her apron and handed the letter to her employer. She winced slightly as Mrs. Winthrop crumbled the letter up in her hands. "Hannah, if I should see you aiding my wastrel daughter in her foolishness again, I will have you fired. Now go on to the market." She seethed as Hannah hurried, leaving the old woman to curse behind her.
Martha Winthrop stormed back into the house and made her way to the study. "One more month" she marked on small calendar as Carol entered the study. "Mother, you had no right to do that!" she yelled as her mother took the crumpled letter and tossed it into the fireplace. "Carol, I will forgive this outburst, but you are forgetting your place. Robert is pathetic dreamer; and if you insist on seeing him all you will do bring ruin to this family."
"But I love him!" Carol protested as Martha sniggered at her daughter's outburst. "I married for love; and when that fool of a husband lost his fortune and his life in the war I was left barefoot and pregnant. I was blessed to inherit this home after my dear sister died, but I will not let you make the same mistake I made, understand?"
"What's all the shouting about?" a meek female voice asked from down the hall. "Now you've woken up your dear cousin. I want you stay inside tonight. Now go to your room and we will discuss this later." She hissed as a frail looking woman entered the room. "Aunt Martha, what's going on?"
Martha smiled (an odd sight to be sure) and motioned for the young woman to have a seat while Carol scowled at the scene. "Phyllis, did I wake you? I'm so sorry." She apologized as she glared at Carol, "By the way, are you still planning on going horseback riding with Barry later?" She inquired.
Phyllis looked away before answering. "I'm not sure. I haven't been feeling very well." She started to say before Martha shushed her. "Nonsense my dear. You need to be out in the fresh air and there will be no argument."
The next day
Hyde park was, all things being considered, was unaffected by the recent murders. The people in the park, on the other hand, were most distressed. The recent area of attack had been cordoned off from the public, and even the officials from Scotland Yard had little luck in finding the culprit.
Detective Latham, a man who looked like he had been born with a scowl, loudly slurped his tea as he stared at the bloody grass. "Three people ripped to shreds and no one sees a thing." He grumbled as the officers busied themselves with gathering evidence. "That's because your killer made sure not to be seen." A quiet voice said behind him. "Bloody hell man, what are you doing here?" Latham sighed as he caught sight of a middle-aged man clad in tweed and a bowler hat holding up a clump of mud. "Simply the duties inscribed to me as Park Constable In-Charge." The man said with a light trace of humor in his jowls as he examined the mud.
One of the younger men stepped forward with a quizzical look on his face. "Sir, who is this?"
"This constable, is what can happen when you spend more time reading fairy tales than you do carrying out your job." Latham spat as the fat man dropped the mud stood up straight, a indignant look on his face. "My Christian name is Ernest Hobbs, but my title" he began as Latham quieted him. "Is bloody long and is little more than a decoration. Now, Park Constable In-Charge Hobbs, if it pleases you, may my men and I continue our jobs?"
Hobbs sniffed as he turned his back to the man. "Alright, but the killer won't be back. Not until the full moon anyway." He said under his breath as he disappeared into the thick brush, leaving Latham to curse the circumstances of his birth.
No sooner had Hobbs left than a shout broke out, followed by a woman's screams. "Doyle, Howard, with me!" Latham barked as he drew his service pistol and dashed towards the sound.
Dashing through the thicket, Latham almost threw his whistle down in disgust at the sight before him.
Hobbs was standing in the middle of the path, his face beet red and at his feet was a young woman laying face down in the dirt. Just off of the path were two horses and a rather upset young man. "Hobbs, just what in the name of all that's good and holy are you doing?" he barked.
Hobbs sniffed as he bent down and checked on the lady. "I was simply walking, when these two came galloping out of nowhere. The next thing I know, this lass's horse goes bonkers and throws her."
"I'm sorry officers." Babbled the man as he removed his hat and rushed to the lady's side. A spark of recognition went off in Latham's head as he saw the man's face. "Say, aren't you Barry Lanfield?"
Barry absently nodded his head as he checked the woman's head. "Nothing broken thanks God. Just a bump on the head." He said, ignoring the detective. Latham motioned to the constables. "Doyle, send 'round for a doctor." He ordered as Lenfield breathed in relief as the woman slowly opened her eyes. "Detective, this is all my fault." Barry explained as Phyllis slowly rose to her feet. "My fiancée and I were just having a race when her ride went berserk."
Latham nodded, disappointed that he wasn't able to blame Hobbs for once. "Yes well, perhaps we can all discuss this down at the hospital, alright?" He grimaced, as the thoughts of having one of England's most celebrated lawyers suing him for negligence did not sit well with him.
Phyllis stumbled away from the men, her eyes wild. "No, no doctors! I'm fine, you said so yourself Barry." She pleaded as she began to walk towards the horses. Barry couldn't help but notice the way the animals moved away from her, but he dismissed that as simply a reaction to the men's shouting.
"Barry, I want to go home please. If no crime has been committed, then there is no point in our staying here." She insisted as she started to walk down the path. Barry gave a card to Latham before catching up to wondering woman. "Detective Latham, Phyllis has obviously suffered quite a shock, if perhaps you could send someone by my office later?"
"Of course sir."
Later that evening
Barry struck a match against the old cobblestone as he paced outside Phyllis's house. Her aunt had almost called the police when he arrived, screaming at how it was his fault. Rather than cause a seen, he had simply excused himself and left the house.
Now, after several hours in the dark, he was growing most anxious, as he had not heard so much as a sound from inside. A growling behind made him pause. Before him was a mastiff, quite possibly the biggest one he had ever seen. The hair on its neck was bristled and it's fangs glowed in the soft light that filtered in from the windows.
Taking a step back, Barry raised his arms while scanning the ground for a weapon. The beast approached him, but it suddenly backed down and scampered off towards a figure dressed in a white cloak. While Barry was both dumbfounded and relived at that occurrence, the sound of a gun being cocked put a damper on his spirits.
"Who are you?" an older female voice ordered from the woods. "I'm Barry Lanfield." Barry shot back as he refused to budge. "Ms. Phyllis's intended? Oh, gracious me!" the woman took on a friendlier tone as Barry could now see Hannah walk out of the woods with a large double-barrel shotgun slung over her shoulder. "Why are you standing out here on this forsaken night?" she asked. "Phyllis's aunt threw me out, and I was hoping to get a chance to speak with her."
"Then you might be in for a wait. Whenever Ms. Phyllis was ill, Mrs. Winthrop was always the one to take care of her." Hearing the howling of the dog, Hannah motioned over to her cottage. "Perhaps we should continue this conversation in a safer place."
Inside the cottage
Barry looked around with apprehension at the boarded up windows of the small cottage. "Mr. Lanfield, how much do you know about Phyllis?" Hannah grilled him as she sat across from the fire with a large book under her arm. "What are you getting at?" Barry shot back.
Hannah sighed as she slid the book across the table and into Barry's hands. "I've been working here since Phyllis and Carol were crawling. Mrs. Winthrop has always been a strange one, but I think she is up to something. A few weeks ago, I found the Mrs. trying to burn this old book. I can't read the writing in it, but if you could look it over for me?" she asked, her eyes pleading.
"Alright, I'll go over it as soon as I can." Barry quickly spoke as he took the book and hurried for the door.
Hannah gave a silent prayer as she saw the young man dash down the path and back towards town.
The next day
Breakfast around the table was a solemn affair. Hannah stoically served the eggs and sausage as Carol and her mother ate silently. A horrified shriek from the main hall almost made Hannah drop the coffee as Martha bolted from the table faster than either the help or her own daughter had ever seen her move.
In the main, at the foot of the old staircase, was Phyllis. She was on the old oak floor, shaking uncontrollable as she clutched the morning edition of the Times in her fist so hard Martha spied small rivulet of blood flowing down the black and white paper. "Dear, what's the matter?" she asked as she flew to her niece's side. "Oh Aunt Martha, LOOK!" Phyllis cried as she thrust the paper forward.
The headline blared out in bold:
RIPPER STRIKES AGAIN
The photograph below showed a picture of a smiling little boy clad in his Sunday finery, with the caption: "2 victim found, last seen playing near Hyde Park"
The boy's eyes were cheerful and lively as the rest of the article described the state his remains were found in. "Oh God!" Phyllis screamed as she dashed down the hall and barreled out of the door. "Carol, help Hannah with the dishes. I'll handle this mess." Martha said coolly as she tossed the crumbled paper aside as marched after the hysterical woman
Outside on the cool grass, Phyllis sat. Her nightgown disheveled and her fingers bloody, Phyllis dropped face first into the grass as her aunt made her way outside. "Phyllis Allenby, you will stop this foolishness at once." She sternly talked down to the crying figure before her.
"Get away!" Phyllis shrieked as Martha bodily picked her up. "Now then young lady, we are going inside. I will not have you gadding about in your undergarments in this manner." She ordered as she dragged Phyllis back towards the house.
Some time later
"I want to thank you for coming." Martha said sweetly as Barry stepped into the house. "It's no problem ma'am, but tell me, what happened?"
Martha sighed as she sat down in the drawing room and sipped on her tea. "I'm afraid it's this ghastly murder nonsense that's been happening. You know the culprit struck again, and what with the park being so close, well, I'm afraid Phyllis has taken the news rather badly I'm afraid."
Barry sat in silence as Martha rambled on before he spoke more forcefully this time. "I understand ma'am, but I would still like to see her." At this, Martha put her teacup down none too gently and looked at him as a cat eyes a fat rodent. "I'm sorry, but Phyllis is resting. I'll trust Carol to show you the way out."
And just as quickly as he had come, Barry found himself back outside. "I'm sorry about this Mr. Lanfield" Carol said quietly as she looked down at the steps rather than looking at him. "It's alright Carol, but I just wish I knew what was going on." Barry quietly reassured her as Carol suddenly wrapped her arms around him and sobbed. Barry, unable to think of a proper response, simply the held the crying woman in his arms as he struggled to think of something.
While unseen by the two, Phyllis bit back a sob as she turned away from the window. "I didn't want you to see that dear, but I think you should call off the engagement." Martha said with a sympathetic tone as she handed Phyllis a glass of milk. "Aunt Martha, I just don't know what to do!" Phyllis cried as she wiped at her red-rimmed eyes. "Hush now; you let your dear old aunt handle everything, alright?"
Sometime later in the afternoon
Detective Latham sighed as he poured over the map of London. "What's the angle?' he questioned as a familiar (and unwelcome) sight burst into his office. "Bloody Hell man, what is it this time Hobbs?" he snarled as the rotund man almost collapsed into a chair, his face beet red.
"I've done some digging, Detective, and I think I've found your murder!" he said with a triumphant grin. "Really, and just who, pray tell, is it?"
Latham's expression grew darker (if such a thing was possible) and he stepped out from behind his desk. His hands were clenching and unclenching in rage as he towered over the fat man. "Alright Hobbs, alright. I'll give you exactly five minutes to explain to me why a woman, who I have seen with my own eyes, is the vicious murder."
"Well, it's quite simple really. She's a werewolf."
Latham's expression remained unchanged as he pulled out a silver pocket watch and started to stare down at the hands. "Four minutes and thirty seconds left."
"To start, I think some background on the young woman's family would be useful in my explaining of the nature of her crimes."
Just before Hobbs could unravel the mystery, Barry stumbled in, his suit in disarray and his face muddy. "You!" he shouted as he leapt towards Hobbs. The fat man moved surprisingly quick for his girth, but Barry was on him in a flash, his hands wrapped tight around the flabby neck.
"Detective, I want this man arrested!" Barry shouted as he throttled Hobbs. "He robbed and assaulted me!"
Latham sighed as other officers rushed into the office and pulled the men apart. "Alright Hobbs, what's your excuse this time? Was the boogeyman the culprit?"
Hobbs, his formerly knowing and defiant stance slowly withering under Latham's gaze, bowed his head. "Yes, I took it, but inside that book is the key! If you'll just let me explain!" he protested before several stout men hauled him off.
Barry righted a chair that had knocked over in the scuffle and sat down. "I'm terribly sorry about this Mr. Lanfield." Seeing the detective's worried expression, Barry good-naturedly waved his hand. "It's no problem detective, but I did overhear what that man was saying."
"Surely you don't put any belief into that old loon's ramblings, don't you?" Barry looked at the carpet before answering. "No, no of course not", were his words yet there was a sense that perhaps he did believe Hobbs.
"I'm sorry detective, but I think I had best get back home." He rushed as he grabbed the book that the Hannah had thrust into his hands.
Two weeks later
Things had gotten progressively worse over the weeks. Barry had not seen Phyllis since the day of the accident. Every time he called or stopped by, Martha was there with a hollow smile and a note of apology. It was during this time that Barry had finally gotten around to reading the book that Hobbs had stolen from him in broad daylight. The fact that the man would risk incarceration over a book was enough to pique his interest.
Finding time to finally open and read the musty yellowed pages, Barry was shocked at the words before him. Locking himself in the library of his home, he poured over the ancient tome, silently reading to himself.
The book was a record of the Allenby family history. Starting with Phyllis's great ancestor, Harold Allensby, who rode with Cromwell. The book seemed to be part journal; as Barry deduced that the author was none other than Harold himself. The tale inside was a rather morbid affair; dealing a small detachment of troops lead by Harold, they stumbled upon what was written as a 'pagan ritual'. Harold ordered the participants killed. As one of the younger women was impaled upon his men's spears, she spat blood upon Harold's breast, screaming that his daughters and heirs would 'be not unlike the beasts that roam the dark woods'. Harold it seemed doubted her, until the eve of his oldest daughter's wedding night. The words described were almost too fantastic to believe.
"As I was finishing the payment of the dowry, I heard a my wife give a horrid scream. Drawing my blade several of my men and I dashed outside. The horror we saw was enough to drive most of my men mad, yet even now the details are still fresh in my mind.
My daughter lay on the ground, thrashing as if she was caught in the very hand of the devil. The witch's words came back to me as I saw my child leap over her mother and land in the center of my men. With a demonic strength she ripped her way through them, all the while her form was slowly shifting into something else."
Barry pushed the book away from himself as the journal then went into a description of Harold's daughter becoming 'not unlike a wolf'. A descendant of Harold's son wrote the next entry several hundred years later. The author, who left no name, began in detail the killings that he or she indulged in. The words continued, each one reveling a sordid history as he had ever seen. "This is insane, there must be a rational explanation for all of this!" he muttered as he closed the book and grabbed the phone on his desk.
While back in the park…
"Alright men, tonight is the night!" Latham barked at the assembled policemen. "You have been issued your guns and parties. I want this park swept from gate to gate, and we are not to leave until daybreak." Latham ordered as he pulled his service revolver out from his pocket and checked it.
Despite the curfew and the police presence, there always seems to be at least one person who feels the need to buck the system. Robert, a young if not gifted man, sat on the park bench, wringing hands and looking at his pocket watch by the gaslight lamp as he padded a bundle next to him: "Alright, five more minutes then I'm leaving." He muttered.
A rustling in the bushes made him jump, but he quickly regained his nerve. Standing up, he smiled as he grabbed the bundle and walked towards the bushes. "About time you showed, but isn't your mother going to-" he began casually as the rustling increased. When the noise grew but the no other sounds, Robert decided that perhaps whoever or whatever was out there was no friend of his.
Dropping the bundle, he fled as fast as he could move. Stumbling blindly down the darkened path, he was sent sprawling headfirst into the dirt. "Help!" he cried as he scrambled to his feet. The rustling appeared before him. Grabbing a rock, he hefted it high overhead.
Much to his relief, an older man dressed in a tweed suit stepped out in view. "I say young man, have you seen anything peculiar about?"
Robert almost sobbed in joy as he stood up. "I heard something in the bushes!" "I see. Then perhaps you should go tell the police. They are canvassing this area as we speak." The man firmly spoke as he marched past Robert and vanished into the night.
Outside the park
Latham paced back and forth nervously as he saw the approach of headlights. "This area is closed to the public!" he shouted as the car approached and pulled to a stop. "Mr. Lnafield, what are you doing here?" he asked as the driver jumped out of the roadster. "I'm not quite sure, but has that fellow Hobbs been released yet?"
"Sadly yes he has, why?" Latham questioned, not quite seeing where the conversation was going. "I think he may have been on to something." Barry answered as a harsh scream filled the air. "Good Lord, we're too late!" Latham cursed as he rushed into the interior of the park.
Near a thick patch of trees a small group of men were gathered. Their solemn faces confirmed Latham's fears. "Who was it?" he asked quietly as he grabbed an electric torch to see the victim's face. "It's Hobbs!" he shouted as the light illumined the face. Hobbs's eyes were wild with fear as the light reveled his savagely ripped open throat. "You said he might have been onto something?" Latham fought back the dry heaves that were threatening to bring up yesterday's dinner.
Barry nodded mutely as another commotion grabbed hold of his attention. Several more officers were escorted a couple to the edge of the park; one a young man and the other a figure clad in a white cloak. "Hey!" he shouted as he voice returned to him. Dashing past the assembled police, he roughly grabbed the figure's arm.
The figure tried to run, but the police made short work of it. "What's the meaning of this?" the nearest man asked. "I've seen you before!" Barry said he gripped the hood. "Who are you?"
As the hood fell away, Barry gasped as he saw the face beneath the hood.
Staring back at him was none other than Carol Winthrop! The blond sighed as she cast her eyes down. "Yes, I'm sorry about the deception." "Mr. Lanfield, you know this woman?" Latham asked curiously. "Yes sir, I do." Barry absently said as he tired to wrap his mind around the events of the past few weeks. "Detective, Robert and I were meeting in secret." Carol answered for Robert. "Oh? And for what purpose?" "We were married in secret, and I didn't want my mother or cousin to know."
"Carol, this is important, how has Phyllis been doing?" Barry demanded as the police started to escort the couple away.
"Phyllis? I don't know; Mother says she's been sick and hasn't left her room." "Are you sure?" "Quite, she was having me bring her breakfast every morning and wash her dirty slippers."
Wheels of thought began to turn within Barry's mind. "Detective Latham, the moon will be out tomorrow night. Will that be enough time to get a search warrant for the Allenby estate?"
"Yes Mr. Lanfield, but why would we need one?" Latham, his brow furrowed as asked.
"Because I am positive the murder is in that house!"
"Then we can go tonight! I have my men here, and we have more than enough just cause."
"True, but I would hate to send you on a wild goose chase if what I'm thinking about is wrong. Just give me 24 hours and I believe that I can solve this case!"
Over the next 24 hours, Barry slaved away at his desk. Reading the journal he took back from the recently deceased Hobbs, he filled his mind with the history of the Allenby history. The journal stopped about twenty years ago, with the death of Phyllis's parents. Her father was the writer, and Barry was almost struck dumb as he scanned over the yellowed pages.
Phyllis had no aunt.
Both her mother and father were only children; although her father made mention of an old flame of his was willing to work as an au par.
"I was almost overjoyed when Martha offered her services to my wife," The last entry began. "but as my wife is with child I can not help but look over the entries in this tome and not be concerned. Will the curse and bad luck that has plagued my family end?" the entry ended suddenly, as if the author was called away.
Closing the book, Barry scanned over the legal documents that he had scattered about his desk. It was so simple, yet he never bothered to check. The marriage refusals, the constant monitoring, it all finally made sense!
"If Phyllis married, then the truth would come out" he slowly said, as if the words were some strange foodstuff. "And Martha would lose everything."
Picking up the phone, he quickly dialed a special number. With Carol and her husband in a safe house, Latham and his task force were already assembled and waiting to go. "Detective, I've found something incredible! Yes, I understand." He hung the phone and bolted from the chair. "I've got to get Phyllis out of there!"
At the Allenby house
By now the sun was beginning its descent. Martha sighed as she gazed over the calendar on the desk. "I think one more week should do." She hummed to herself as she marked the days off with an old fountain pen. "Hannah, I won't be needing your services for the rest of the night." She called out to the old woman as she picked up a silver-serving tray and placed a cup filled with a frothing hot beverage in it.
As she made her way up the staircase, her footsteps echoing in the old hall, she thought to herself: "Yes, I think one more week should do just nicely. With Phyllis a raving loony, I can finally take over this house!" she thought as she smiled a predatory grin.
Her feet being somewhat muffled on the old carpet, she turned down the hall and made her way to a small door at the end of the hallway. Setting the tray aside, she fished a large gold key out from her front pocket and unlocked the door.
Picking the tray back up, she backed her way into the room. "Phyllis, I've brought you a nice hot toddy to help you sleep." She started to say as she turned around. She almost dropped the tray at the sight before her.
Standing in front of the window was Phyllis, holding an old wrought iron lamp. The glass plane had been slid back and the frail looking woman was balanced precariously on the ledge trying to hang it from a hook.
"Phyllis, what in God's name do you think you're doing?" Martha chided as she pulled Phyllis back in. "Nothing" Phyllis stuttered as Martha lead her to the bed. Picking up the lamp, Martha looked over the old iron with a disdaining look on her face. "Really, a girl in your condition? Just what were thinking?"
"I remember something my mother used to tell me; that if you place a lantern outside your window before sunset you won't be bothered by nightmares."
"Pish posh my dear, that's just a simple-minded fairy tale." Martha soothingly said as she picked up the warm cup and handed it to Phyllis.
But as this exchange was taking place, the sun had already dipped below the horizon.
To Martha's eyes, it looked as if Phyllis's hands were shaking. The cup fell from her hands and broke on the hardwood floor. "Phyllis!" she admonished as she got off the bed and picked up the cup. "What's gotten into you?"
"Aunt Martha, I think I'm park ripper!" Phyllis almost shouted as two mastiffs outside began to howl. Hiding her own glee, Martha put on her best concerned face. "Now what makes you say something like that?" she asked as she closed the curtains.
"Because I've been waking up naked, with blood on my mouth and hands!" Phyllis sobbed as she slid out from undernenth the covers and stood near the window.
Suppressing a chuckle, Martha nodded. "Now you are just being silly" she said. "Besides, I've been the one putting that blood on you." She snidely thought as Phyllis suddenly gasped and fell to the floor. "Phyllis, what's wrong?"
"My insides…they feel like they are on fire!" Phyllis moaned as she clutched her stomach and curled up on the floor. "Oh dear, I had better fetch a doctor then." Martha said with no sense of emergency in her voice.
Calmly walking to the door, she exited out into the hallway and locked the door behind her. "This will be even easier! Instead of committing her, I can just let her die on the floor!" she gleefully thought as she very nearly danced her way down the hall. "Why no inspector, I just left her a nice hot toddy before retiring myself. No inspector, I don't know how long she had been on the floor like that." She rehearsed the lines over in her mind as she made her way towards her own bedroom.
While at the exact same time…
Phyllis's death, as an American writer once said, was somewhat of an exaggeration. Struggling to her knees, she crawled painfully over the foot of the bed. Reaching out with a trembling hand, she gripped the edge of the curtains and yanked in an effort to pull herself to her feet. The velvet cloth ripped apart in her hand, leaving the room flooded with moonlight.
As the silvery light shined down on her, Phyllis felt the pain slowly ebbing away. "What's going on?" she wondered as her body suddenly become very itchy. Letting her nightgown drop to the floor, Phyllis stumbled her way into the bathroom as her feet suddenly become sore.
Sitting down on a small stool near the vanity mirror, she stared in horrified fascination as thick coarse hair started to grow all over her body. "What's happening?" she wondered as a sharp pain in her mouth silenced her questions.
She stared as her canine teeth suddenly started to grow into sharpened points. Putting her hand up to cover her mouth, she was struck at how large and paw-like her hand had become.
The soreness in her feet increased, prompting her to abandon her seat and stretch out on the tiled floor. Struggling to speak, but finding her throat raw, she grunted and moaned as her feet and hands began to reshape themselves.
Reaching out and grabbing onto the edge of the bathtub, she once again tried to pull herself up, only to have the porcelain shatter in her hands.
Sitting up to all fours, Phyllis felt different somehow. Walking out through the door, she stared at the moon.
Down the hall
The ear-ringing howl echoed throughout the house as Martha climbed into her own bed. "Blasted hounds!" she muttered as she got out and slipped on her housecoat before putting on her Persian slippers and opening the door.
She had taken no more than a few steps before she heard the howl again, only this time it was from inside the house.
Grabbing a candle from off the wall, she slowly crept down the hall, the small flame flickering and casting weird shadows along the wall. Moving closer, she heard sounds of thrashing and more howling.
"Oh dear." She muttered as she ducked down a side hall and shone the candlelight over a large glass case. Staring back at her from a rack was a large double-barreled shotgun. "It's a pity, but I suppose self-defense is better than nothing." She thought as she unlocked the case and pulled the weapon out.
Loading it with shells that were roughly the same size as her hands, she locked the gun into position and marched confidently down the hall.
While at the same time
Phyllis looked around the bedroom. This was hers, she was sure of it, yet she couldn't quite recall how to just how or why she was here. Brushing that thought aside, she walked (on all fours, as the idea of walking on her hind legs seemed so silly for some reason) towards the door. Seeing the doorknob confused her. Should she know how to use this?
Rearing back, she pushed forward, hoping to make the door move on its own accord. The old wood splintered as she pressed her paws forward.
While Phyllis was busy making her escape, Martha took that exact moment to turn the corner. Seeing a large wolf bursting out from the door and snarling before her would be enough to send most people into a hysterical state.
Martha Winthrop on the other hand, was not most people. Taking aim, she fired off two blasts that would have torn a man's head off at 25 yards. But while her will was strong, her aim was not. The blast sailed over the creature's head and harmlessly disintegrated a bay window.
"Blast!" she cursed as she backed up while ejecting the spent shells. Fumbling with two new ones, she kept her eyes on beast before her. "Filthy thing!" she cursed as she reloaded and took aim…
Phyllis was confused. The person before looked familiar, yet she couldn't quite place the name. The thing in her hand made her jump, but then she was very angry. That noise frightened her. The person-woman, she forced herself to think, before her was making her angry….
Martha was not by nature a superstitious woman. The thing before her growled and started to move towards her, it's paws softly padding on the thick carpet. Her shaking fingers fumbled with the next shell, dropping the ammo to the floor. Bending down, she saw the beast's mouth open, reveling rows of razor sharp teeth. Thick ropes of drool slimed out of it's open maw, staining the rug as it walked towards her. The ebon hair on it stood straight up as it reared back on it's hind legs, towering over her.
"Oh dear." Martha fussed as her found the shell and she quickly brought the gun to load.
It was too late. With one swipe of the massive claws, Martha's head was severed from her body. Hitting the railing of the staircase, it landed with a wet thump with a look of pure disbelief etched into the eyes.
Phyllis looked down at the bloody corpse. Did she really mean to do that? It didn't seem to matter the longer she thought about it. Going back to all fours, she slowly made her way down the stairs.
Hannah first suspected something was amiss when she heard the dogs barking. The howling and gunshot confirmed it. Rummaging in the closet reveled the only weapon she had at hand was an old claymore handed down from a distant relative.
Knowing that the flimsy windows and doors wouldn't be enough to hold back whatever was inside the house, and also knowing that whatever was in there would in all likely hood soon be outside the house, Hannah deiced to make a run for it.
Cursing Mrs. Winthrop for only having one phone (and located inside the house), she deiced her chances would be better outside. Slipping her boots on, she opened the back door to her cottage and ran like a devil. The sounds of the dog's wild howling filled her hears, as did the sounds of something else. A wolf's cry came after the dog's barks, as did the sound of something wet being torn apart and thrown against something hard. "Shame, I rather liked those mutts." Hannah grimly joked as she ran as fast as she could down the main stretch of road, hoping to find someone before the monster (for that must have been the cause of the racket) found her.
Phyllis stared down at the shredded remains of the mastiffs. The dogs had raced at her snarling, and with one swipe she had killed them. The sight of the broken bodies and bloodied fur sent a small thrill through her.
This was fun
Hannah ran blindly down the fog-covered road. The sound of the wolf howl grew fainter the faster she ran, so she was inspired to move even faster. The sound of a motorcar from down the lane brought a smile to her face. "Thank God!" she cried as she tried to flag down the car.
Barry nervously drummed his fingers on the dashboard as he and Latham raced through the foggy night. "My men have the area secured Mr. Lanfield, but do I need to remind you that we are perfectly capable of handling a woman and two dogs?"
"Yes sir, but my fiancé is there too." Barry answered back as he spied a strange shape in the fog. "Wait, what is that?"
Stopping the car (and giving orders to the other cats behind them), Barry rolled down the window at the sight of Hannah stumbling along the side of the road waving a sword over her head. "Mr. Lanfield!" she cried as she dropped the sword and fell to her knees. "The curse! The monster is in the house!" she screamed as uniformed men exited from other cars and helped her up.
"What's the meaning of this?" Latham questioned at the sight. "I think Mrs. Winthrop has just made her last mistake Detective. I can explain on the way" Barry smiled confidently as the train of cars stared to move again.
Back at the house
Phyllis sniffed the night air as she exited the house. Scents mingled with one another, but she knew which one she wanted. Racing down the path, she bounded over the gate and landed in the road.
Hearing cars approaching, a flash of anger went through her mind at the thought of more people entering her home. Snarling (which the act of didn't surprise her; it just seemed like the right thing to do), she raked her claws against the old iron gate and readied herself for the intruders.
Latham was the first to see it. "You said the old woman had two dogs, right?"
Barry nodded yes. "Yes, two mastiffs."
"Then what in the name of God is that?" he pointed to a large form standing in the middle of the road. Barry didn't even have time to question it as the beast leapt towards them and landed on the hood. Latham cursed and fired his service revolver point blank through the windshield into the beast. Barry could see the bullets flying through the air and hitting the snarling thing directly in the chest, but the metal slugs just flattened like wax against the thing.
Losing control of the car, Latham tried desperately to steer the vehicle away from the gated ground rapidly approaching them, but he was too late. The car smashed into the wrought iron gate and came crashing to a halt.
Barry sat back; he had no idea on just how long he had been out. His face felt hot and sticky as he brushed his fingers across his forehead. They came away crimson and wet as he tried to open the door with his other hand. Hearing shouts and the retorts of gunfire, he pried open the door as wide as he could and slid out.
Before him was something out of a nightmare. A wolf, yet it stood like a man, was standing defiantly before the London police. Latham was nowhere to be seen as the police circled the beast in a manner that reminded Barry of all those painting he had seen as a child of the early settlers wagons being circled.
Phyllis was angry. The men-she knew what they were now- were shouting at her, trying to cage her. She simply was not going to tolerate that.
Barry sat his foot down, and almost passed out as the pain raced up through his leg. "Must have busted my foot," he thought as he gingerly tried to hobble on his other. The creature, a extremely large wolf from the looks of it, was snarling and approaching the officers, the moonlight glistening off of it's knife like claws.
"Mr. Lanfield!" he heard a familiar voice shout as the monster dived headfirst into the policemen. He saw Hannah rushing around the carnage and up towards him. "Mr. Lnafield, that's Phyllis!" she shouted as the screams of dying men quickly filled the air. "What? You're mad!" Barry said incredulously.
"It's the curse of the Allenbys Mr. Lanfield! It's claimed Phyllis!"
Seeing a rather large officer attempt to beat the wolf down with ham hock-sized fists and his subsequent dismemberment prompted him to move. "Let's move this conversation inside!" he gestured towards the house. Hannah nodded as she tossed her sword to one of the closer officers and ducked inside the house.
"Alright, let's just say for the sake of argument that the thing out there is Phyllis. Do you suppose we gun her down?" Barry wheezed as he barricaded the front door.
Hannah shot him a snide look as she raced up the stairs. "Mrs. Winthrop had a gun with her. I'll get that, you search in the pantry for some silver!" she shouted back as she raced up the stairs.
"Silver? Silver what?" Barry wondered before the sound of something heavy hitting the door brought him back to attention. The glass window over the door was shattered by the large paw and swung down and nearly took his scalp off. Deciding that the impromptu barrier wasn't as sturdy as it looked, he dashed down the main and through the dining room. "Silver? Silver bullets? Silver knifes?" he wondered as the crashing sound down the hall made him move faster.
Turning a corner, he opened a large door and ducked inside. Looking around (after lighting a match) he saw his reflection in a multitude of knives, trays and other assorted pointy items.
Every last one of them made from silver.
Hannah forced the bile back down her throat as she pried the gun from Mrs. Winthrop's dead body. "You always were tight old biddy." She cursed as she was forced to snap the fingers back in order to free the weapon. A crashing sound followed by snarling told her of the new arrival.
"God give me strength." She silently prayed as she cocked the shotgun and made her way downstairs.
In the panty
Barry scrambled to find something sharp to use as he heard the soft padding of the creature's paws coming closer. Grabbing a large serving tray and steak knife, he braced his feet against the door and prepared himself for the worst.
Phyllis sniffed the air. There was something familiar close by. Something very familiar indeed; she was curious as to where this particular something was though.
The scent was drawing closer as she approached a door. Opening it (mainly by ripping it off of it's hinges), she peered in. A man was before her, one she knew. Grinning, she moved in closer to the male…
Barry tried not to scream as the monster tore the door away. For what seemed like ages it stood there, blood flecked over it's muzzle. It moved towards him, and he reacted.
Phyllis jerked back as the male before her moved. There was a flash, followed by a deep burning feeling in her chest. Seeing the red river that was flowing out of her chest, Phyllis's pain quickly turned to anger as the male dashed down the hall and up the stairs.
In a blind panic, Barry ran as fast as he could, not even seeing where he was going. He had stabbed the beast, but it did little good. He could hear the thing behind him and even feel the rancid breath on the back of his neck. Reaching the top of the stairs, his foot was caught on the last step, sending him tumbling face first into the carpet. The beast stood over him, a look of pure fury in it's red eyes as it snarled and loomed over him.
Phyllis snarled as the male cowered before her. How could she ever be kind to this weak thing? She wondered as she prepared to rip him apart. The familiar sound of a shotgun being cocked made her ears twitch. Looking up, she saw an old female (with another familiar scent) standing with another weapon pointed at her. Growing increasingly annoyed at the interruptions, she leapt over the male and set her sights of the female…
Hannah prayed as she took aim. "That is not Phyllis!" she said through clenched teeth as she carefully aimed at the bounding beast and pulled the trigger just as she felt a tingle go through her right arm. Her vision started blur as she saw the blast from the rifle cut through the air and hit Phyllis dead center.
Barry had either died or passed out, she wasn't sure. She saw Phyllis take the full impact in the chest and be hurtled backwards down the stairs. She slumped to the floor, her breath labored as she fell back onto the rug. "I did it" she wheezed before she suddenly became very still.
Barry wasn't quite sure what happened next. He remembered the monster looming over him, and the sound of the gun going off; but after that everything was blur. He was currently sitting in the back on an ambulance wrapped up in a blanket. "What happened?" he finally managed to sputter as various police and medical officials moved about.
A kind faced nurse talked to him as he saw several covered bodies being moved out of the house. "You've had a rather bad night sir. We're going to talk you the hospital now, alright?"
Barry didn't hear the rest of her words as he limped his way off of the gunnery and hobbled as fast he could towards the bloody sheet covered body. "Sir, I can't let you do that" an officer said as Barry, with a trembling hand, yanked back the sheet.
He saw Phyllis staring back at him with cold eyes. Her body bore the wounds that he saw the monster take earlier, including the slash from the knife.
Barry felt a cold shiver go through him as he stared down at the body. Falling to his knees, he slowly covered her back up as he was helped to his feet. "She was shot by the old woman, wasn't she?" he heard a voice ask beside him.
"Yes…yes she was." Barry found himself answering as he was led to the back of the ambulance. Looking over at the house and the bodies being hauled out, including the poor forms of Latham and Hannah, he went weak in the knees as he was loaded in. "What exactly were you doing there sir?" one of the officers asked as he was being strapped in. "I was saving a life." Barry answered back as he leaned back on the gunnery.
The evidence of the murder, the deaths that night, and even the loss of Phyllis could be dealt with later. Barry felt cold as he realized that despite the years he had known her, he never known her as a person. "I'm sorry." He muttered to the moon as he saw it through the small window. His thoughts drifted to happier times of Phyllis before he passed out. Before his lids closed, he could have sworn he spied the image of Phyllis smiling back at him.
Based on "She-Wolf of London" (1946) dir. Jean Yarbrough.